I’ve been a fan of battle rap since my early teens. My official introduction was Cassidy vs. Freeway (I heard the battle on a mixtape), which was later followed by Murda Mook vs. Loaded Lux via an early installment of Smack DVD.
It’s battles like those — the ones that took place in studios, barber shops, clothing stores and community parks — that helped mold battle rap into the phenomenon it is today. Faaacts.
Similar to any other sport, battle rap is competitive, and it can get heated at times. It’s not abnormal for opponents to get in each other’s personal space, touch one another and, in some cases, actually get into full-fledge rumbles. Though it can be entertaining, it’s never a good look, though — not for the people involved nor the culture as a whole.
But everyone’s human.
To be honest, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be on a stage in front of a crowd of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of people and you have someone forcefully brushing up against you, or yelling in your face with spit flying, so on and so forth. Something like that can bother the calmest, most sober-minded individual on the wrong day, let alone a person who has some liquor in their system and is with an entourage ready to take things to another level at the drop of a dime.
With that noted, I want to briefly touch on the whole Brizz Rawsteen/Murda Mook “scuffle” that recently took place at the Ultimate Rap League’s (URL) Summer Impact: Reloaded in New York City. For those who don’t know, the main event of the night was a tag-team-style two-on-two match between “Darklyfe” (Brizz and his partner-in-crime T-Top) and “Murdaland” (Mook and Detroit’s Calicoe). The highly-anticipated match was originally scheduled to take place in August at Summer Impact in North Carolina, the home state of both Top and Brizz, but it was rescheduled.
This time around, they were in Mook’s neck of the woods. Summer Impact: Reloaded was actually Mook’s first time back on the Smack/URL platform in nearly a decade, one of the reasons why people were excited to see what he had in store for the night.
Unfortunately, when Darklyfe and Murdaland collided, it was short-lived. In the midst of the first round, Mook ended up swinging on Brizz after the two got into a brief bumping match/tug-of-war for Mook’s arm (this also came after Top and Brizz dissed Mook’s late mom during their round, according to statements from both artists). A melee between the entourages ensued, and the event subsequently ended, leaving people at the venue, as well as those tuning in via Pay-per-view, without an opportunity to see what they paid their money to enjoy: a classic battle.
Needless to say, this isn’t the first time battle rap has turned into a boxing match and, more than likely, it won’t be the last. But it’s sad. Not because these guys are professionals who allowed their tempers, pride and egos to get the best of them; that can happen to anybody. Rather, because battle rap has come so far since the early 2000s. Before the sold-out venues in different states, monetary agreements, endorsements, massive media attention and global following, it was people like Mook, Lux and others rhyming for little-to-nothing to build their name and the culture’s buzz as a whole.
A fan of both Brizz and Mook, I hope they can get past this rift and actually get on stage together someday. No doubt, a battle between the two would be epic, and it would be a great look for the culture.
Saying that, salute to both Brizz and Mook. Everybody makes mistakes, but it’s what we do afterwards that speaks volumes.